10. Luke Gifford & C.J. Goodwin, ST
Special teams played a significant role in swinging the momentum for Dallas. Gifford recovered a fumble by Peyton Hendershot on a short kickoff. At that point, the Packers were up 14-7. If Green Bay gets the ball back at the Dallas 34-yard line, they could be up 21-7 before halftime.
After the Cowboys went three-and-out on their opening drive of the second half, Bryan Anger hit a great punt that allowed three defenders to close on the returner. C.J. Goodwin forced the fumble, giving Dallas the football in Green Bay territory. Dak Prescott took the team down the field and made it a 21-14 game. If it weren’t for either of those plays, the final score wouldn’t be as close as it was.
9. Bryan Anger, P
Keeping up the theme of special teams, Bryan Anger was working overtime on Sunday. On a night when the ball was dying in the air, he made a perfect kick every time the Cowboys needed to pin the Packers back.
Even though the defense struggled to stop the Packers on third down, Anger did his job by flipping the field and putting pressure on the Packers. Anger averaged 49.2 yards a punt and his longest of the day went for 58 yards. Not bad for their Pro Bowl punter.
8. Malik Davis, RB
Malik Davis continues to make the Cowboys scouting department look good. He was explosive in his second game of the season, getting 38 yards on five carries. Davis’ average was almost eight yards a carry and would have been higher if not for the Connor McGovern penalty in overtime.
He did a great job in pass blocking and should still get carries even when Elliott returns from injury. If the team loses Pollard to free agency, he will be a great complement to Zeke and whichever rookie they draft.
7. Micah Parsons, LB/DE
The Cowboys were handicapped at linebacker from the Anthony Barr injury. Micah Parsons wasn’t used at defensive end much because he needed to fill the void. Parsons isn’t the biggest linebacker in the league, which hurts him trying to break away from a lineman that turns him away from a run play.
However, he was quick to the ball and didn’t hesitate to try and make the right read. Parsons showed his elite instincts but needed to be used more as a pass rusher. Hopefully, if Barr comes back next week, No. 11 will be making friends with Kirk Cousins in the backfield.
6. Dalton Schultz, TE
After Dak Prescott was called for an intentional grounding call, it backed the offense up to 2nd and 21. Prescott found Schultz over the middle for a 37-yard gain. Schultz was going to be tackled closer to the line of scrimmage if not for spinning away from defenders and running the field for extra yards.
When the Cowboys were backed up from the holding call in overtime, Schultz had a great catch to make it third and manageable. We’re probably not even talking about the controversial fourth-down call if he doesn’t make that catch. Not to mention he had a touchdown catch to make it 14-14 before halftime.
5. Zack Martin, RG
Zack Martin and Terence Steele continue to be among the best tandems in the NFL regarding run blocking. Steele needs to get credit for how good he was on Sunday, but his pass blocking wasn’t up to par with Martin’s, and he allowed pressure on Dak at critical points in the game—where the ball died at the receiver’s feet.
Martin had the best pass-blocking PFF score along the offensive line with 82.2. At one point in the game, it looked like Martin was holding his calf muscle as he was down on the ground. He jumped back up and played the rest of the game like nothing ever happened—the true embodiment of toughness.
4. DeMarcus Lawrence, DE
DeMarcus Lawrence was the only defender who was great against the run Sunday. There were times when it wasn’t pretty, but that’s a product of the whole defense not playing the run well and Lawrence having to carry the load.
Lawrence’s strip-sack fumble could have been a play everyone talks about if it led to points. If that were the case, he’d probably be much higher on the list. Unfortunately, it didn’t work in his favor, and the Cowboys turned the ball over in the red zone.
Tank did move up the ranks of Cowboys history with his 18 career forced fumbles. He sits third all-time behind Greg Ellis and DeMarcus Ware.
3. Dak Prescott, QB
Dak didn’t have the best game in the world, but don’t pin the interceptions entirely on him. There’s an apparent disconnect between him and the wide receivers/tight ends that needs to be cleaned up fast as poor route-running contributed to the interceptions, When McGovern had the penalty in OT, and they were backed up to 2nd and 19, he threw a perfect pass to Schultz, opening the opportunity for a possible fourth down play.
There were a few other throws to Lamb in the game that were perfect. His second touchdown to Lamb and the one over the middle in overtime were placed in the perfect spot. The box score will show two interceptions, but Prescott was not the reason why the Cowboys lost to the Packers.
2. Tony Pollard, RB
There’s nothing more to say about Pollard and his ability to be an NFL starting running back. Not only did he have 22 carries for 115 yards and a touchdown, but he has become a better pass blocker since his early season struggles. Pollard’s best runs of the game came on the designed draw plays where he burst through the line with blockers in front.
When Packer defenders got in the backfield, Pollard found a way to make a play from nothing. With back-to-back games over the century mark, he’s priced himself out of Dallas unless they want to bring him back on the franchise tag, and/or move on from Elliott and spend the money on Pollard.
1. CeeDee Lamb, WR
Lamb has become a boom and bust player. He will give you the 150 yards on 11 receptions but makes too many mental mistakes in route running. Prescott is trying to trust Lamb with throws over the middle, but he’s reading the coverage opposite of what Prescott sees. This problem started during the Lions game with a few near interceptions. Lamb’s decision-making cost the Cowboys a turnover.
Having said all that, he averaged over 13 yards a catch and made big plays to keep the offense moving when things started to go in favor of the Packers. His catch over the middle in overtime slightly made up for his earlier mistakes. He took a shot from safety Adrian Amos and still held onto the ball. If the Cowboys score a touchdown to win the game, that play would be remembered as one of the most important plays in overtime.